Thinking Inside the Box

A Paddocks Sectional Title Lifestyle Blog

Are Fines in Sectional Title Schemes Legal?

Can a body corporate fine an owner?

Can the body corporate of a sectional title scheme, through its trustees or managing agent impose fines on owners and residents for breaches of the rules?

Neither the Sectional Titles Act nor the prescribed rules (the governing legislation) provide for the imposition of fines or penalties on apparent transgressors of a scheme’s rules.

So the default position is ‘No’!

If you’ve received a fine from the trustees or the managing agent and your scheme’s rules don’t provide for fining – the fine may well be unenforceable.

But…

It is possible for a body corporate to impose legally enforceable fines if the body corporate has properly adopted a carefully drafted rule providing for fining owners and residents.

However, in order to be enforceable this rule must be:

1)   reasonable, and

2)   take into account the principles of natural justice, especially the principle ‘Let both sides be heard’, which requires that a hearing be called to give the apparent transgressor an opportunity to state his case before being found guilty and a fine being issued.

If, after the hearing, the trustees find the person to be guilty of breaching the rules they can impose a reasonable fine.

It is important to note that for a fining rule to be enforceable it must be carefully drafted, passed by the required consensus level (special resolution for a conduct rule, unanimous resolution for a management rule) and it must be filed at the Deeds Office.

So if your body corporate wants to be able to impose fines I recommend that you get an attorney, well versed in sectional title, to draft the fining rule for you and ensure it is properly filed at the Deeds Office.

Have you been illegally fined in your scheme? Share by commenting below.

 

Image source: http://fiscalbridge.com

Advertisements

102 comments on “Are Fines in Sectional Title Schemes Legal?

  1. Jo-Mey Dreyer
    November 4, 2016

    I have no problem with a reasonable fine for transgressing a rule, if included in the bc’s rules. My problem is with fines and any other costs that get plonked onto the owner’s levy account. I am aware that Anton Kelly is of the opnion that management can add anything onto a levy account, and so ensure that they can refuse to issue a clearance certificate should the owner want to sell, thereby ensuring that they can also collect all other monies owing when the sale goes through . I see this as the lowest form of blackmail. I believe that the levy account should be sacrosanct, and that the clearance certificate should relate to the levies and nothing else. During the nine years that I was our bc’s treasurer the only thing I ever added to the levy accounts, was interest on arrears, when applicable, and even then the interest was shown in a separate column to show clearly how much was levies and how much interest. It is really no trouble to open a general account for other costs such as rubble removal, fines or whatever costs have nothing to do with an owner’s levy. A competent treasurer or agent should have no trouble handling such a general account and recovering such costs!

  2. Mark
    October 21, 2016

    Our trustees were harassing my tenants and after a long court battle the magistrate did not hear my tenants case and she wasn’t allowed to show her evidence when the magistrate decided to close the case. No legal fees were awarded to either party. She has to appeal in the High Court which she can’t afford. I received a letter from the Chairperson who started the dispute with my tenants and she is demanding that I pay her legal fees. She also claimed that this was a Body Corporate case against my tenant which is incorrect. All paperwork issued to court were done in each persons name, and not in the body corporate. Is this even legal? The Chairperson is using body Corp funds to pay her legal fees. Last year they went to lawyers again claiming it’s a body corporate issue, and fined my sister for legal fees, when my sister asked to go to arbitration the Chairperson refused. My sister had no choice but to pay the legal fees as she was in process of selling her unit and the paperwork would not be finalised if she didn’t pay. How is one trustee allowed to continue to harass and extort money from owners?

    • Paddocks
      November 1, 2016

      Hi Mark,

      Thank you for your comment. Please email us on consulting@paddocks.co.za with regards to your matter, and we can provide you with a no-obligation quote, so that we can assist you.

      Kind regards,
      Paddocks

  3. Nicole
    September 26, 2016

    Hi, I got a notice for non stopping at a stop sign in the complex and two weeks later got a fine of R1000.00 for non stopping, I was never provided proof of this. yes the cluase is stated in the code of conduct rules but seriously??? I always slow down at the stop street anyway because there is crazy speed humps. Can I dispute this?

    • Paddocks
      September 26, 2016

      Hi Nicole,

      Thank you for your comment. Please email us on consulting@paddocks.co.za with regards to your matter, and we can provide you with a no-obligation quote, so that we can assist you.

      Kind regards,
      Paddocks

  4. Megan
    September 3, 2016

    Hello, my landlord has issued me with a fine last week that was sent to her 2 months ago by the body corporate. Its a R500 fine for a oil leak. How do i dispute this?
    I parked in a parking bay that had already been covered in oil stains to avoid leaking on clean bay. A picture was taken of the old stains and the picture clearly shows that I leaked ontop of stains that have been there for months before.
    I feel pretty hopeless regarding the matter. Do I stand a chance disputing this fine?

    • Paddocks
      September 15, 2016

      Hi Megan,

      Thank you for your comment. Please email us on consulting@paddocks.co.za with regards to your matter, and we can provide you with a no-obligation quote, so that we can assist you.

      Kind regards,
      Paddocks

      • Glenn Nel
        September 15, 2016

        Bodies corporate rely on the fact that the cost of pursuing a dispute will cost the accused more than the fine. There is absolutely no justice in that. I have seen a lot of comments here have a response saying contact paddocks for a quote, but resolving a dispute will cost more that the R1000 or 1700 to pay the fine.

        So by default it gets added to the levy and the board win.

      • Hassen
        September 15, 2016

        Hi Glen
        I would suggest that the best way here is too become a Trustee at the next SGM by submitting your nomination 48 hours before the AGM. Once you become a Trustee you will then find out all there is to know about the fine system and can dispute or recover your fine amount.
        I would say to pay the fine. Once a Trustee you will be able to combat the issue from INSIDE THE BOX.

  5. Misty Gerber
    September 1, 2016

    Hi there, I’m an ower in sectional title. At the AMG last meeting was decided to imposed a fine of 10% gor any wrong doing. A special levy for carports was also implemented pm which is added to my normal levy acc pm. Now I have a oil leak and was warned and fined. Try to solved this oil leak but to no avail and now I’ve been fined every month R98 for the last 5mths which is added to my levy. Can they bill me with my monthly levies, carport levies and fine on 1 acc pm? Can they fine me every month for this oil leak problem? The conduct rules hasn’t been amended or filed at the deeds office either for imposing of fines or levies for carport? Thanks

    • Paddocks
      September 2, 2016

      Hi Misty,

      Thank you for your comment. Please email us on consulting@paddocks.co.za with regards to your matter, and we can provide you with a no-obligation quote, so that we can assist you.

      Kind regards,
      Paddocks

  6. John
    August 25, 2016

    Hi

    I was given a letter of a fine of 500 after failing to respond to say side of my story after the tenant hanged clothes on the corridor of the property. The matter was discussed with the tenant. I only forgot to inform to the trustees about side of my story as the owner and i did not notice the invitation from the letter send to me about the tenant issue. The respond due date passed and failed to attend the trustee meeting.

    Then after was sent a verdict with instruction to pay R500.

    What are the procedures to be followed before issuing a verdict?

    And after how long does a verdict need to send to the owner?

    What must i do in this situation.

    • Paddocks
      August 25, 2016

      Dear John,

      Thank you for your comment. Please email us on consulting@paddocks.co.za with regards to your matter, and we can provide you with a no-obligation quote, so that we can assist you.

      Kind regards,
      Paddocks

  7. Maylene
    August 19, 2016

    Good day.

    I have read all the above comments. It has really enlightens me. However where do one fine the information with regards to the process of issuing a fine to a tenant who has committed a transgression. Is this process legislated and where can I fined this information.

    • Horst Schobesberger
      August 19, 2016

      There are excellent article by Paddocks describing all the procedures of imposing fines. But there is one big issue. Who pays the fine ?> Is it the tenant who is the transgressor or the owner who is responsible for the activities of the tenant ? Who will in this case attend the hearing and how do you make a tenant paying the fine ?HORST.

  8. Vivien Keller
    August 5, 2016

    Is it legal for sectional title AGM’s be held during working hours?

    • Paddocks
      August 11, 2016

      Hi Vivien,

      Yes it is legal, there is no restrictions as to what time a AGM must be held.

      Regards,
      Paddocks

  9. Charles
    August 4, 2016

    What happens when the HOA conduct rules describes the fining of transgressions, and how it would be applied, but the transgressor keeps ignoring the rules (i.e. one-way traffic rule), and replies “I will pay if the court says so” ? They have been warned on a number of times already, verbally and by writing.

    • Paddocks
      August 11, 2016

      Hi Charles,

      As you refer to fining in an HOA, you would need to refer to your HOA’s governing documentation, which may provide that should a member be fined and not settle the fine, they will not be considered as a member in good standing. Alternatively, the member’s levy account could be handed over for arrears levy collection – including the outstanding fines.

      Please contact our private consulting department (consulting@paddocks.co.za) should you require further advice on this matter.

      Regards,
      Paddocks

  10. Reinhardt
    June 21, 2016

    Hi,

    ek word deur my body corporate beskuldig dat al 2 my kare buitegestaan het.
    die reel is dat 1 kar altyd in die garage moet wees.

    maar my 1 kar staan altyd in die garage…hulle my voorheen ook vals beskuldig van n ander oortreding..en was toe op die ou einde die bure bo my.

    ek vir hulle verduidelik dat dit nie so was nie!…maar hulle se net jammer die body corporate het kla besluit.

    maar hulle moet tog sekerlik dit kan bewys nie waar nie?

    • Paddocks
      June 21, 2016

      Hi Reinhardt,

      If your scheme has a registered rule in force relating to the use of your garages, the trustees have the responsibility to enforce the rule if contravention of the rule can be proven, for example photographs, written complaints or on site inspections. Should you require formal legal advice please contact us on consulting@paddocks.co.za.

      Regards,
      Paddocks

  11. mansgenoeg
    May 20, 2016

    Can the Managing Agents levy an admin fee to the sectional total owner for issuing the fine imposed by the trustees of the body corporate? So that you have the fine of say R500 and the R45 admin fee to pay?
    If you have a dispute on a fine that is not resolved, may they then charge a monthly admin fee and interest on that unresolved fine under dispute?

    • Paddocks
      May 23, 2016

      Hi there,

      In order for the body corporate to raise a fine on an owner, there must be a registered rule relating to fines. With regard to the admin fee, the rule as stated may include such a fee, or the trustees may be authorised to raise such a fee in terms on Prescribed Management Rule 31(5) of Annexure 8 of the Regulations to the Sectional Titles Act 95 of 1986.

      In terms of Prescribed Management Rule 31(6), the trustees may raise interest on arrear amounts. We would be happy to assist you further, please do not hesitate to contact us on consulting@paddocks.co.za for a no obligations quotation.

      Thanks,
      Paddocks

  12. Marcel
    May 18, 2016

    Good day
    I bought into a body Corp to rent ,which I did for a while unfortunately due to unfortunate circumstances I had to let the tenant go an put my wife and 2 kids age 5&8 the problem is the place is small I have converted a bachelor flat into 2 bedroom so that every one is comfortable we do have a helper that helps with the kids I don’t live with them in the week I see them 2 days on the weekend.My problem is I’ve been issued with fines of R500 a month for overcrowding.Ive requested meetings with the trustees and that’s just not surfacing what do I do…
    Urgent help needed as I don’t have the money to relocate my family…

    • Paddocks
      May 19, 2016

      Hi Marcel,

      Thanks for your question. Should the section in question still reflect as a bachelor flat on the sectional plan of the scheme, the scheme’s conduct rule and municipal by-laws relating to overcrowding will apply. We suggest reading our article on Overcrowding in sectional title schemes.

      Regards,
      Paddocks

  13. vanessa
    May 16, 2016

    hi, we have been victimsed by a trustee who has issued fines to us without just cause. no proof and no warning. what can we do?

    • Paddocks
      May 16, 2016

      Hi Vanessa,

      Thanks for your question. You need to look to see if there is a fining rule in the registered rules of your scheme, that allows the trustees to raise the fine. If there is such a rule, the rule would set out the procedure to receive complaints, to raise the fine, and to challenge the fine. Our private consulting division can assist you in this regard, and suggest you contact us at consulting@paddocks.co.za.

      Thanks,
      Paddocks

  14. Mishumo
    May 4, 2016

    Hi, I have been fined by the managing agent and the reason is because the tenant from the other unit has constantly say that i make noise, but the is no record of any noise reported by the security guards. I have never been given a chance to explain myself. What are my options on this matter. i dont know any of the trustees.

    • Paddocks
      May 4, 2016

      Hi Mishumo,

      Thanks for your question. You need to look to see if there is a fining rule in the registered rules of your scheme, that allows the trustees to raise the fine. If there is such a rule, the rule would set out the procedure to receive complaints, to raise the fine, and to challenge the fine. Our private consulting division can assist you in this regard, and suggest you contact us at consulting@paddocks.co.za.

      Thanks,
      Paddocks

      • Marc
        May 4, 2016

        As far as I know you still have a constitutional right to be heard. Often rules and fining systems allow for that hearing time, but yet it conveninently gets forgotten by body corporates.

  15. Hassen
    March 30, 2016

    Hi,
    Just a question.
    Can a fine be added to the Owner levy?

    • Paddocks
      March 30, 2016

      Hi Hassen,

      If the scheme’s registered rules (management or conduct) contains a fining rule, then the amount of the fine can be added to the owners levy account for recovery. Should you require our assistance in reviewing your schemes rules for such a fining rule please contact us at consulting@paddocks.co.za.

      Regards,
      Paddocks

  16. Priscilla Nqoko
    December 20, 2015

    Yes I’ve being fined and also paying ridiculous amounts for legal fees every month.

  17. Dinesh Lutchman
    December 7, 2015

    Hi
    I have been fined for a year now for an amount of R250pm for installing my geyser on common property which is enclosed in a waterproof box where the geyser is not visible and painted according to BC colour. Initailly the request from the BC was to install our own geysers and no specifications to the installation were provided. I would appreciate feedback on the legal aspect of the fine and secondly what period is the BC allowed to continue with this fine.

    • Paddocks
      December 8, 2015

      Hi Dinesh,

      Thanks for your comment. We suggest contacting our consulting division on consulting@paddocks.co.za or 021 686 3950 for formal advice.

      Many thanks,
      Paddocks

      • Pardy
        February 4, 2016

        Hi. Just a question for Paddocks – does your company charge for services these consulting services? If so where can I find the pricing structure?

      • Paddocks
        February 8, 2016

        Hi Pardy,

        Please contact our consulting division on 021 686 3950 or email consulting@paddocks.co.za, and they will be able to assist you further with regards to the pricing structure.

        Many thanks,
        Paddocks

  18. Glenn Nel
    December 4, 2015

    I have been disputing a fine that was issued against my tenant for verbally abusing a guard who was making entry difficult whilst the remote access gate was being serviced.

    There was no specific rule covering this, and our rules say that a “spot fine” may be imposed against the tenant. I received this fine added to my levy without process being followed. No hearing was conducted prior to the allocation of the fine. When I held a meeting with the board, the meeting was opened with a statement saying ” we have made a final decision, but Mr Nel would like to have his say”

    I have been advised to take it to arbitration by them. This is a bully tactic as the costs for both parties are exorbitant and they are forcing people to settle rather than have the headache. I have made it clear that I do not acknowledge the liability, however, they assigned my levy payment to the fine anyway and put my account in arrears.

    I was advised by an attorney to leave it and let the debt prescribe. Is this correct as they have allocated monies paid and consider the fine “paid”.

    • Paddocks
      December 7, 2015

      Hi Glenn,

      Thanks for your comment. We suggest contacting our consulting division on consulting@paddocks.co.za or 021 686 3950 for quick formal advice, as your question has too many factors.

      Many thanks,
      Paddocks

  19. Brandon
    December 1, 2015

    Hi, I have received 16 overcrowding fines. When i check my unit for overcrowding, its not the case. The managing agent rules is that all trustees can only impose fines via email or post, as other owners can only communicate via email for it to be valid. I have requested The Trustees 16 overcrowding fines via email or posts from the body corporate. They say they cant give it to me as the POPI Act say they cant. Can i request these emails as it will assure me that the correct steps have been followed in issuing fines to me. I feel they have conducted all these fines incorrectly and with this emails. They should have all the fines and emails filed somewhere, its not older than 5 years old. who can i speak too. The trustees has so much power and do what they want without following the correct procedures, but they want us to follow it step by step. Need help. Brandon

  20. Tenant1
    November 25, 2015

    Sadly this is all too common.

    We have a trustee who’s issuing parking fines 2 years down the line because for some reason he has decided he doesn’t like us.
    Short version – we’ve used our garage + 1 other bay for well over a year. Although we had verbal permission this trustee has now changed his mind (lesson learned – get it in writing next time)… and even though we do not interfere with any other residents/tenants he’s decided on his own to issue a fine for “un-authorised parking”

    • Paddocks
      December 2, 2015

      Hi there,

      Thanks for your comment. The fine will only be enforceable if it is contained in a conduct rule adopted by special resolution of the body corporate and filed at the deeds office.

      Best,
      Paddocks

      • Donovan
        February 14, 2017

        Hi there, How do you find out if its been filed at the deeds office?

      • Paddocks
        March 2, 2017

        Dear Donovan,

        Thank you for your comment. We are more than happy to help, however we do not give free opinions / advice. Please email us on consulting@paddocks.co.za with regards to your matter, and we can provide you with a no-obligation quote, so that we can assist you.

        Kind regards,
        Paddocks

  21. Rogier
    November 16, 2015

    Could you be so kind to advice me on the following: our BC has decided to charge owners R500 to replace a plastic security tag (purchase price R19.95 and then has to be added to the system, approx 2-3min). My view is that this is an outrageous amount to expect owners to pay and can they implement this without the support of the owners?

    • Paddocks
      November 17, 2015

      Dear Rogier,

      Thank you for your message. Please place your question on our Facebook page, as we answer one question a day for free there. Alternatively, you can contact our consulting division on consulting@paddocks.co.za for formal advice.

      Kind Regards,
      Paddocks

  22. oxanne
    November 13, 2015

    Hello, my rental scheme has fined me forR5000 for setting off fireworks on diwali day. No such fines or rules relating to the setting off of fireworks appear on the signed contract. Is it legal for them to do so

    • Marc
      November 16, 2015

      I doubt they can then if its not in the rules and if due process (as per the rules) was followed. You have a constitutional right “to be heard” – to defend yourself if you have a defense.
      Law Enforcement might be able to fine you if it was against the law which I am not familiar with. There are other laws, not just the rules.

      I also doubt its a good idea to set off fireworks in a complex either way.

    • Paddocks
      November 17, 2015

      Hi Oxanne,

      Thanks for your comment. We suggest contacting our consulting division on consulting@paddocks.co.za for formal advice.

      Thanks,
      Paddocks

  23. Revei
    October 20, 2015

    I live in Mount edgecombe durban South Africa. ..I am being fined R1000 a month for having 2 x maltiese poodles on my rented property instead of 1…the complex has 106 units and about 30% has dogs and only a few are being charged or fined. I have paid more than 30k in fines and need some help…my landlord is now being pressured into evicting me or paying the fines as I have stopped paying for the past 1 month. Rgds Revei

    • Paddocks
      October 21, 2015

      Dear Revei,

      Thank you for your message. Please place your question on our Facebook page, as we answer one question a day for free there. Alternatively, you can contact our consulting division on consulting@paddocks.co.za for formal advice.

      Kind Regards,
      Paddocks

  24. Riekie
    August 28, 2015

    Does this apply equally to a HOA registered ito section 21

    • paddocks
      August 28, 2015

      Hi Riekie,

      The answer depends on whether the Memorandum of Incorporation and House Rules give the directors the power to impose fines.

      Regards, Paddocks

  25. Horst Schobesberger
    February 9, 2015

    Horst Schobesberger. This issue was discussed many times by Paddock and there is also an excellent article by Paddock written opn the legal aspects.It is all about a well functioning Board of Trustees, a good caretaker and well trained and briefed security personnel who take action in A REASONABLE manner , using common sense, preventing issues before they get out of hands, having legalised and enforceable conduct rules and applying GOOD COMMUNICATION SKILLS !!!!. Remember trustees are not running a policecamp or detention centre.A coin has two sides and we are managing our block of flats consisting of 104 flats and a recreational area with a swimming pool, situated in Sunnyside !!! Pretoria quite well without introducing fines which are difficult to administer within the PRESCRIBED LEGAL ASPECTS.. It is an issue of proper command and control and immedfiate corrective action if rules are non-complied with. HORST.

  26. Rihan
    January 31, 2015

    I bought a flat in November 2013 and I’ve got a neighbour from hell (keep in mind she’s not an owner, she just rents the place). She constantly moans about everything and I keep on getting fines from the B/C. First day I moved in, I drilled 4 holes at 17:11 on a Friday (to hang my plasma tv). My b@#$! neighbour complained and i got a warning from the Body Corporate. A few days later I was mowing my lawn at 17:25 (I work till 17:00), she complained and I got a R350 fine for working “after – hours” – but I’ve never seen such a rule in our B/C’s rules. I asked permission from the B/C to put up an aircon unit, they said it’s fine, but my neighbour still complained about it. I braai every now and again and she complaines about the smoke. I painted my vibacrete walls white (which body corporate allowed me to) and she complained. It’s so bad, when I have a braai I know I’ll get another fine the next working day. Last month alone i received 2 fines totalling R700. One for talking too loud too late at night and the other for parking my car more than 48 hours on the same parking bay (I went on holiday and was driving with friends – what should I have done???? Park my car outside in the street??? I don’t know what I can do. This BITCH is doing everything she can to get rid of me. Any advice???

    • camelot.windsor
      February 9, 2015

      Did your signature appear on the letter “from the Body Corporate”? No? Then it was not from the Body Corporate – probably from the Trustees of the Body Corporate. I would take my gripes with the tenant neighbour directly to the owner and demand better treatment.

  27. marcus
    December 27, 2014

    Was fined $150 for having washing on the balcony. Had security turn up at my door, saying it was a fire risk because people flick cigarette butts down to the lower levels. Didn’t make sense to me as I’m on the top floor. I asked for it in writing, and was told to see the building manager. When seeing the BM. He said I had to pay then and there and in cash. I again asked for an official billing, but resigned to a payment receipt of the fine.

    I now have another fine I will be charged with for pressing multiple buttons on the lift(stupid I know). But having two security guards turn up to tell me this seems unnecessary and deliberately intimidating. I would think posting a fine in our letterboxes would be a more reasonable way of dealing with these situations as they arise.

    • Horst Schobesberger
      January 6, 2015

      The above mentioned comments and the correct legal response from Paddock says it all. We manage our Block of Flats WITHOUT fines reasonable well, but it needs the hard work of committed and active trustees, a good caretaker and well trained and controlled security guards WHO ARE TOGETHER WITH THE TRUSTEES AND CARETAKER ENFORCING THE RULES . There is no silver bullet or special telephone number solving YOUR problems for you. It is about teamwork, committment and common sense. HORST . [ Chairperson BoT STOCKS CITY, Sunnyside Pretoria, 104 flats + Recreational Area with pool.

  28. Neels Roberts
    October 29, 2014

    Hi. A new owner asked the BC for a list of all the owners as well as their contact detail. The BC is reluctant to comply as it may infringe on the owners’ right to privacy. Can somebody please advise: Does he have the right to this info?

  29. Ian D. Samson
    June 4, 2014

    Late payments get a R35.00 fine onto their following month’s statement. Late payments mean any amount outstanding two days before the due date for payment of Municipal Accounts. Banks take at least 2 days to do their EFT between banks. If owners are so slack to not get their payments in on time, they pay the penalty, not the Body Corporate.

  30. Jo
    June 4, 2014

    Hi Dean, when you suggest a percentage of one’s monthly levy, what fines are you referring to: Overdue levies, breaching of conduct rules, general damage to property….?
    As far as an owner’s levy account is concerned, this is based on the approved budget for the year’s maintenance, and reflects each owner’s share of the budgeted expenses. In my opinion it would be illegal to tack any other amounts onto one’s levy account, whether they be interest or fines or any other costs incurred by the owner concerned. In any of these cases, a separate account should be opened for the offending owner, and must be pursued separate from his/levy account.
    Any comments?

  31. Claudio
    May 30, 2014

    Hi… I was wondering if anyone can shed some light on this issue.
    Around 3 years ago I moved into a sectional title simplex in a gated complex (renting).
    When i moved in, the owner told me that there would be no problem having my dog in the complex (quite a big dog – over 40kgs).
    A few months down the line I received a letter from the body corporate telling me that I need to remove my dog or I will be fined R500 a month.

    I had a meeting with the person who was in charge of pets from the body corporate and she said that unfortunately there were new members in the board of trustees and that they are now strict on that rule (the rule is stated in the rule book – no dog heavier than 7.5kg).

    After a few meetings, this person told me that there was nothing that could be done but they can turn a blind eye and all that will happen is that I will continue paying a R500 per month.
    I agreed on this.

    2 and a half years down the line I receive a letter saying that my fine has now been increased to R1000 per month and if I do not get rid of my dog, it will increase further.

    Is this legal?

    Thanks!

    • Marc
      May 30, 2014

      I do not know about the legalities, but genberally speaking a fine’s purpose is to enforce compliance. Just keep paying a fine is not solving the transgression at all.

  32. Dean
    April 9, 2014

    Instead of a monetary amount in the Conduct Rules, how about a percentage amount of the monthly levy?

  33. Rado
    February 3, 2014

    Hello Dear Sir
    My tenant has been fined R1000 for 2 occasions of noise. He disputed the first one, but the trustees kept the fine. What legal recourse I have to scrap the fine? The tenant was not allowed to speak to the chairman, by the argument that body corporate deals only with owners. When I want to speak, the chairman puts the phone down on me. When I write letters to the body corporate, no proof of this occasion nor witnesses are cited. I feel I have been prejudiced.

    • paddocks
      February 12, 2014

      Hi Rado, I suggest you contact Liam – our sales and marketing exec at Paddocka (liam@paddocks.co.za). He will point you in the right direction.

  34. Camelot Body Corporate Chairperson
    December 17, 2013

    Due to the highly technical specifications in this request, I forwarded it to a sectional title/homeowners association chairperson friend asking for her language assistance, far too highly technical for my Afrikaanse Taalbond Standaard 10 1970.

  35. zelda von stein
    December 12, 2013

    What can the body corp do to me if I refuse to remove my bin that stands in front of my flat. They say it’s an health and safety risk, but I think it worse to have it in your house. It is in the rules that we may not have a bin outside but I had the bin for more than a year outside and all of a sudden it became a problem. My bin is always need and clean. Can they fine me and if so how would they need to go about and how much can they fine me.

    • Horst Schobesberger , Sunnyside, Pretoria
      December 13, 2013

      Hi Zelda ! Don’t look for confrontation with the Board of Trustees. Your last sentence is a clear indication for this. Talk to each other. The BoT cannot allow exceptions. Rules are rules ! Other residents may want to do the same but may have filthy and stinking bins. If your bin is so clean and neat as you describe it then there should no problem for you to keep it inside your flat.There is also the issue of creating an obstacle in a passage and maybe other violations of by-laws. I do not believe in fines. The prescribed hearing will even lead to more confrontation between you and the BoT. There may be another solution for keeping bins in your scheme. Communications in an open and ” adult ” way between you and the BoT may lead to a solution.Living in a multitenant environment requires always compromises. It needs of course also trustees who know that they are not running a PoW camp and are flexible enough to understand the concerns of residents [ without compromising safety , security and order ]. Try it, please.

      • Marieta
        December 17, 2013

        Hi Zelda, verskoon dat ek in afrikaans antwoord, my engels is nie so goed nie. Ek stem saam met Horst Schobesgerger:-
        By my blok woonstelle is ek verbonde aan die Beheerliggaam. (Body Corp) Ons het ook soos enige ander woonstelblok, hierdie huisreël dat almal hulle vullisdromme moet skoon en reukloos hou.

        Die woonstelblok waar ek woon, het elke eenheid ‘n aria langs die kombuis waar n wasmasjien en die vullisdrom gestoor kan word. (scullery)
        Indien so iets nie by julle die geval is nie, moet die Beheerliggaam ‘n plek aandui, waar die vullisdromme uit die oog, gehou kan word.
        Nooit sal dit toegelaat word dat vullisdromme baie naby of in die looppaadjies geplaas mag word nie. Dit is uiters onooglik en al is dit hoe skoon, niemand sal hiervoor te vinde wees nie. Dit skep ook ‘n swak indruk wanneer kuiergaste kom kuier.

        In ons geval is dit in ons huisreëls ingebring met die volle regspersoon se goedkeuring, dat boetes gehef mag word. Die Beheerliggaam gee vooraf n waarskuwing per skrywe, wat gewoonlik ook werk, sonder dat die boete gehef word. Die eienaars wil gewoonlik nie hê dat die res van die regspersoon hulle skandes op die finansiële state sien nie. En ons hef nie eens groot boetes nie – ‘n R100-00 om mee te begin met waarskuwing dat Regsadvies ingewin sal word, waarvan die koste vir die oortreder se sak is. Dit was nog nooit nodig om verder as net die waarskuwing, op te tree nie. (Die meeste inwoners is pensionarisse en het nie ‘n groot inkomste nie)

        Daarby stem ek saam dat goeie kommunikasie ook al baie probleme opgelos het – die probleem is net dat nie alle oortreders bereid is om op ‘n beskaafde manier om ‘n tafel dit te doen nie.
        Beide partye moet redelik optree en verstaan hoekom daar so ‘n regulasie ingestel is, en dat dit tot voordeel van alle inwoners is.
        Die Beheerliggaam behoort nie onredelike eise te stel nie – om harmonie en vrede te handhaaf, moet inwoners toegelaat word om binne die regulasies, ook gelukkig te kan lééf.

        Ek hoop u het hierdie goeie verhouding met u Beheerliggaam, en dat verskille ook redelik en op goeie voet om ‘n tafel uitgepraat kan word. Dit werk maar net so.

  36. Ian D. Samson (Camelot Body Corporate)
    September 16, 2013

    What is the position on charging interest on arrears? We have a few levy defaulters who pay only what they feel like paying, the balance goes into the 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, 120 days, 120 days +, columns on their accounts which they never settle. Is it legal to charge 18% p.a. compound interest (like mortgage bond interest, capitalised daily on arrear amount) and added to this sum? Does the STA define it or is this also enforceable only through unanimous resolution by owners?

  37. Pingback: Prostitution in Sectional Title Schemes | Thinking Inside the Box

  38. Lucy
    July 19, 2013

    Please help – if a special contribution is raised as a ‘ Special Business’ item at an AGM against a number of Sectional Title owners in a ST scheme and the special contribution was based on a furnished invoice amount of say X when in fact a figure of X+Y was raised on the selected number of owners’ levy accounts – is the “special contribution resolution at the AGM” constitutional? Surely 2 sides to the story of the special contribution resolution ‘allegation ‘ should be heard at the AGM where the special contribution was raised and discussed?

    • paddocks
      July 22, 2013

      Hi Lucy, unless your scheme has special rules made in terms of section 32(4) of the Sectional Titles Act, a special levy must be raised on all owners (not just a selected number of owners) and the special levy must be divided amongst the owners according to their participation quotas. As to the amount of the special levy – the trustees are able to raise special levies for expenses that are necessary and weren’t budgeted for, so the amount raised should be necessary to cover an unbudgeted expense. Good luck!

  39. Horst Schobesberger
    June 26, 2013

    We are a well managed STA block of flats in Sunnyside / Pretoria [ 104 flats ] even without fines. Fines are difficult to administer [ hearing, recovery of the money etc.] and my question is. Who has to pay the fine ??? The residing tenant, who is not complying with rules, or the non-residing owner who is responsible for the actions of his tenants ??? Active and engaged trustees, a committed caretaker and well motivated and looked after security personnel who feel part of the management of a block of flats will solve most of the problems, even without engaging the non-residing owners. It is mostly a question of how to approach offendres. Screaming and fingerpointing brings nothing.

    • Marc
      June 30, 2013

      Insert a clause in the lease that the tenant is liable for all fines a tenant might attract on the owners levy account. If tenant does not pay deduct them from the deposit at lease end.

      • Horst Schobesberger
        July 23, 2013

        Horst. There is still the issue of a hearing, giving the offender the chance to respond to allegations. Some owners / tenants are better in legal aspects than members of the Board of Trustees . Will the BoT members have always the time and are also willing to attend to such matters ?? I doubt. We succeed better without fines.

  40. June
    June 26, 2013

    What recourse do we have if the Minutes of the AGM are not properly recorded?

    • paddocks
      June 26, 2013

      Hi June, the chairperson should at the next general meeting, after the AGM, obtain confirmation from those present who were also present at the AGM that the draft minutes of the AGM are a true reflection of the proceedings at that meeting. This is the forum in which you should bring up any errors or omissions and the persons who were present at the AGM and who are present at the next meeting should finalise the minutes so that they properly reflect its proceedings.

  41. Graham Giles
    June 26, 2013

    Great tips from Paddocks about imposing fines but I wish to make a suggestion concerning the use of language as I believe it is very important.

    Only criminal courts have the power and right to find anyone ‘guilty’ of a crime.

    Breaches of rules are not crimes. Transgressors should simply be found to have transgressed and not found ‘guilty’.

    There is always the additional danger of defaming owners by suggesting that they are ‘guilty’ of something.

    The word ‘offences’ is also generally regarded as referring to crimes such as speeding or illegal parking. It is far more sensible to talk about breaches rather than offences.

    The word ‘charges’ should also be confined to crimes and used by the police. Rather use the word ‘allegations’.

    The word ‘hearing’ simply means that an owner/tenant has the right to be heard after receiving details of the allegations. The right can be exercised in writing or personally in a meeting.

    The Afrikaans word ‘verhoor’ refers to a formal trial and a ‘hearing’ is not meant to be like a formal trial.

    This all has to do with respect for humans and their right to dignity.
    Best, Graham

  42. Marco Frontini
    June 26, 2013

    Frightening
    .
    When I read all of the above comments, I realise that freestanding is the way to go.

    • Nella
      June 26, 2013

      Amen Marco. After 30 years in sectional title all I can say is that that is the best way to go – the dream has died.

      • Ian D. Samson
        October 30, 2013

        After being in sectional title since 1998, the last 8 to 2013 being Managing Trustee for our complex, I don’t ever want to go back to freestanding property because then 100% of non-claimable Insurance becomes 100% owner responsibility. I do not have that type of money in today’s South Africa. And never will.

  43. Nella
    June 26, 2013

    Fines, even in registered conduct rules, leave the back door open for those times, and they do happen, when the trustees elect an autocratic chairman. These fines then become a whip for those owners who do not fit the trustees’ (chairperson’s?) idea of the type of owner they want in “their” complex. Sectional title does not work, not because of bad rules, but because of misuse of power. Getting rid of trustees and especially the chairman then becomes problematic as owners leave, sell or rent out units and are only interested in getting a reasonable return on their investment. The unseen, unheard emotional, financial suffering continues but they are no longer involved. I am personally so over sectional title. A good idea gone south in my opinion.

  44. Karen Miles.
    June 26, 2013

    Hi there,
    i have a similar story to Mike. when i moved into new estate, HOA and ST units, i asked if i can put up electric fencing. i was told yes after BC permission. now 4yrs later MA is fining me under ST act, for damaging the wall, never mind people adding on patios, wooden stick fencing, carports, etc.etc. The fine is under new HOA rules made 2yrs after i moved in, NO hearings ,no response from directors, R2500 fine, access cards cut off, and R100pm extra,till i take it down. Now i am going around estate finding other people with fences and “non-compliant” people, and we’re all getting together to start court action. Trustees and HOA directors, think they are king, and persecute the home owners as and when they wish. HURRY UP OMBUDSMAN!! we will need a good few of them.

    regards,

    karen.

  45. Klara
    June 25, 2013

    What if new Conduct Rules (Our complex never had CR) was not voted on at a meeting, BUT it was registered by a Attorney and on the “top” document it states that it was unanimously approved on a Special General Meeting which was held on…………the date given was our AGM meeting and not SGM and there were no voting regarding the new Conduct Rules at the AGM.

    • Tertius Maree
      June 26, 2013

      Your scheme must have had conduct rules. The standard rules will apply.
      It is accepted that the rules filed at the deeds registry had been correctly adopted. If it appears from the minutes that this is not the case, owners have two options: (a) to adopt and file new rules; or (b) to apply to the High Court to have the ‘defective’ rules set aside. Option (a) should always be attempted first.

      Tertius

  46. mike russell
    June 4, 2013

    Hi
    My “fine” is a lovely one

    I was charged R1700.00 for a broken light fitting. No evidence that I or anyone else broke same. As my daughter had “guests” at our unit (kids belonging to other owners) the trustees decided these kids “may” have broken the fitting and therefore as they were guests, I must pay!
    They then brought a high court application and summons for me to pay the R1700.00 (I had paid under duress the day before the high court application and summons)
    They then added R34200.00 to my levy account for the collection fee but not any cost related to the high court application and summons (this will still be billed to me)

    Their rules were never registered and are still not registered with the deeds office
    They have refused to remove the R34200.00 from my account after 18 months (even after seven lawyers letters asking them to do so) even though they were never legally awarded any amount let alone the R1700.00
    They have refused to send me an invoice and statement for 18 months for my month to month levies
    Oh yes,….. they have spent in excess of one million Rand persuing me with this matter suposedly as I broke their non excistant rules!

    • Marc
      June 30, 2013

      Something very fishy here. Have you tried a specialist property lawyer?
      Which B/C has one million to blow to collect R1700? No way.. If they really did I am sure they are not fit to run a Body Corporate..

    • Jo
      July 1, 2013

      I thought we had a useless and vindictive board, but this case beats everything. In the first place the R1700 should not be a fine at all, but a charge for replacement, and should not be placed on your levy account. IF they can prove that you or your visitors were responsible for the damage, and IF they can produce an invoice for that particular replacement, they may have a case, but only for the actual repacement cost. To spend a million rand in pursuing this matter, I believe your board has been acting recklessly and irresponsibly. It is almost certain that these costs will be passed on to all the owners in the next budget by way of a levy increase. I presume that your budget provides for maintenance costs, and surely the replacement of a lightbulb could be paid out of the budget.
      I also have a big problem with a board that would force an owner to seek legal counsel, especially in view of the promised OMBUD, which was supposed to be in place in early 2011. WHERE ARE YOU, OH OMBUD?!

    • Gordon simmonds
      October 30, 2013

      Mike, May i ask the complex and the managing agents please? Gordon frogrealty@telkomsa.net

  47. Heather Starbuck
    June 3, 2013

    Is it not better not to include monetary amounts in the rules, but rather say the amounts are to be reviewed by the trustees from time to time and authorised by the members at the AGM. If the amounts are included in the rules, will it not mean that the rules will have to be registered each time the amounts are changed?

    • paddocks
      June 4, 2013

      Hi Heather, yes that is a good way to do it too!

  48. Janette Booth
    June 3, 2013

    What would be a “reasonable fine” for an owner who has a dog that barks a lot? What would someone have to do if they feel they have been fined unfairly?

    • paddocks
      June 3, 2013

      Hi Janette. Thanks for your comment. What is reasonable will be an amount that is fair after taking into account all the particular circumstances of a case. Only a judge or arbitrator would be able to give you a final ruling on whether a particular amount is fair or not.
      What we do when drafting fining rules is to include particular monetary amounts for first offences, second offences etc. and then make it obligatory for those amounts to be considered at each AGM and adjustable by majority vote of owners at the AGM. This way, the amounts should always be at levels that the majority of a particular community feel are reasonable.

    • Jo-Mey Dreyer
      June 26, 2013

      Wat agterstallige heffings betref glo ek dat die regspersoon wel geregtig is om rente te hef, mits dit redelik is.
      Wat aanbouings en vergroting van die vloeroppervlakte van eenhede betref, MOET artikel 24 van die Deeltitelwet stiptelik nagekom word, insluitend opmeting deur die Landmeter Generaal, herberekening van deelnemingskwotas van al die eenhede en gevolglik heffings betaalbaar, en die indiening en registrasie van ‘n gewysigde deelplan by die registrateur van aktes, alles op koste van die betrokke eienaar. Let ook daarop dat so ‘n eienaar ook vooraf toestemming van die regspersoon moet kry by wyse van ‘n spesiale besluit. Dit is die plig van die trustees om te verseker dat die wet toegepas word, hetsy by wyse van ‘n hofbevel of ander metode. Indien daar reeds met die werk begin word voor die verkryging van goedkeuring by wyse van spesiale besuit (30 dae) het die regspersoon die mag om te eis dat die werk vernietig word.
      I could write a book on barking dogs. Needless to say, fining the owner will not shut the dog up.

  49. Marieta Bodenstein
    June 3, 2013

    Indien die volle Regspersoon tydens ‘n Algemene Jaar Vergadering wel toestemming hiertoe gee dat boetes van skuldige eienaars verhaal mag word – dan kan dit seker nie ‘onwettig’ wees nie?
    Dit mag wees dat sekere eienaars net weier om krag / heffing gedeeltelik te betaal of glad nie te betaal nie, dat mens naderhand so radeloos word en nie meer weet wat om te doen nie. Jy kan ‘n eienaar nie ‘uitsit’ soos met ‘n huurder die geval mag wees nie.
    Dit het al gebeur dat ‘n Voorsitter van Trustees sy mag misbruik het om ‘n onwettige konstruksie by sy eiendom op te rig. Hy weier nou om dit te laat “wettig” wat goedkeuring van ‘n Munisipale Bouinspekteur asook landmeter se opmeting vereis. Dit raak die Deelplan wat weer al die ander eienaars ook betrek.
    Watter ander opsies bly dan oor? Het iemand raad?

    • Tertius Maree
      June 26, 2013

      Nee. Die Wet bepaal dat deeltitelskemas gereguleer word deur reels – nie blote besluite nie. Die ‘toestemming’ is onwettig.

      Tertius

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on June 3, 2013 by in Financial, Legal and tagged , , .

Follow us on Twitter

Address:

+27 (0)21 686 3950
Mon - Fri
8am - 5pm

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 421 other followers

%d bloggers like this: